Layoffs, budget cuts, & the union

Updated: City Council passed a tentative 2023-24 budget on May 17th that put more than 100 jobs at risk of layoff in bureaus funded by fees. Mayor Wheeler proposed last minute rollbacks of fee and utility costs that will mean budget cuts and likely layoffs. Read OPB’s coverage here.

CPPW is asking – how can we preserve services and support the people who make this city work? With our strong union, we can push back against Council’s bad budget decisions and will have more protections during layoffs than we have alone.

Without a union, we are an easy group of workers to layoff so budget cuts often happen on our backs. Other unions at the City offer some examples of language we could adopt in our contract to give ourselves some protections during budget season.

For example –

ProTec 17 union contract says, “In the event that City economic indicators demonstrate the need for layoffs within the bargaining unit, the City shall notify the Union to meet and discuss the economic impacts. The City and the Union mutually agree to put forth a good faith effort to arrive at alternatives to layoff.”

AFSCME 189 union contract says, ” In the event an employee’s position is abolished, an employee shall be permitted to bump … into a vacancy in the same classification in the employee’s assigned bureau with the same shift(s) and days off”

Both contracts include other protections like:

  • Bargaining the impact of a layoff (severance, furlough, or reduced hours)
  • Seniority protections and the right to return to open positions
  • Organized support of others in the same position

We deserve job security and protection from the threats of layoff every annual budget cycle. Together – through the union – is how we get that security and protection. It’s time to mark your ballot – Union Yes!